Shortly after it was announced earlier this Summer that P.O.D. had been released from their contract with Atlantic Records, Rhino Records announced that they would put out a hits compilation of some of the best tracks the band had recorded during their six-plus-year stint on Atlantic. Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years is just that -- some of the most memorable songs the band has released since their hit making 1999 record The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. With P.O.D.'s eyes set firmly on the future as they prepare for a new record on a new label, Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years provides a retrospective look at where the band has been.
P.O.D. has had its ups and downs musically and within its roster as they lost their original guitarist following their popular album Satellite. Picking up Jason Truby to fill the void left behind by Marcos Curiel's exit, the band continued forward with their follow-up, Payable On Death. While Satellite boasted big anthems and a commanding ferocity, Payable On Death, and its most recent effort, the slightly better Testify, feel as if the band is struggling to find their groove again as they figure out where to go next. In fact, putting a lot of the post-Marcos songs among cuts from Southtown and Satellite just seem to serve as reminders that there's something that generally lacks about the band's newer songs.
One thing for sure can be said about Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years is that it doesn't feel thrown together in the least bit. The record includes one brand new song recorded especially for this album ("Going In Blind") as well as a previously unreleased song from when Testify was tracked ("Here We Go"). "Going In Blind" just happens to be one of the best tracks the band has released since Satellite, mixing some of the vibe of that record with the melodic guitar riffs found in such songs as "Sleeping Awake" or "Goodbye For Now." Sonny Sandoval's vocals sound slightly weathered, which add to the lyrical weight of feeling weary and misplaced following the loss of a loved one. "Here We Go" is a love song about a couple finding each other, bearing a guitar riff that seems to pick up where "Alive" left off, clearly differing from much of what Testify had to offer. It has the vibe to fit in on a hits record and is a nice addition as well.
Since P.O.D. really hasn't had seventeen hits, there's a bit of filler on Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years, but in the form moreso of treats for fans than dismissible duds. While "School Of Hard Knocks" is missed, the band's contribution to The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, "Sleeping Awake" makes its first appearance on a P.O.D. album, as well as the more subdued "Truly Amazing," which was previously only found on The Passion Of The Christ: Songs. Finally, the record closes with a track from the band's limited edition The Warriors EP, Vol. 2, "If It Wasn't For You," an anthemic declaration of faith and nod to the band's fanbase. The rest of the record is a healthy mix of tracks from four studio records, with Satellite securing the most selections from one album (four). It's great to have such solid rock songs as "Southtown," "Boom," "Alive," "Rock The Party," "Youth Of The Nation," "If It Wasn't For You," "Will You," and "Satellite" all in one place. While "Execute The Sounds" and "Roots In Stereo" represent some of the weaker moments in the band's catalog, The Atlantic Years is still a formidable collection of rock songs from P.O.D.'s whirlwind career.
While hits records can be a real smash or a painful miss, Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years is among one of the better greatest hits collections a band can receive. Including a reflective foreword and lyrics to each song in the project's insert only makes the package all the sweeter. P.O.D. just ain't done yet, folks.- Review date: 11/23/06, written by John DiBiase
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